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HOME > SCIENTISTS' NIGHTSTAND

On the Origin of Origin Stories

Ryan Seals

Through the pages of A Brief History of Creation, Bill Mesler and H. James Cleaves II trace humanity’s obsession with the origin story of life on Earth as Westerners have told it, from the philosophy of Anaximander in the 6th century BCE to a 21st-century biology lab at Harvard Medical School.


No Rust for the Weary

Dianne Timblin

In Rust, journalist Jonathan Waldman follows a winding, oxidized path—to the Statue of Liberty, through Alaskan oil fields, into the Ball can-making factory, and well beyond—revealing how the work of corrosion engineers improves contemporary life, making it easier, more productive, and far safer.


Adventures of a Spacefaring Feline

Dianne Timblin

For Professor Astro Cat's Atomic Adventure, author Dominic Walliman and illustrator Ben Newman bring an intrepid cosmic traveler back for a journey through physics' many realms.


Behind the Scenes, Between the Lines

Carolyn Beans

Geobiologist Hope Jahren’s memoir, Lab Girl, takes readers on a behind-the-scenes tour of science as she recounts the triumphs and misadventures of setting up three labs and conducting research in the Canadian Arctic, Ireland, Hawaii, and across the continental United States.


Science Books in Six

American Scientist’s readers, writers, and editors share the science books that struck their fancy in 2015—summed up in just six words!


Cypherpunks Write Code

Jamie Bartlett

What happens in this virtual world—the Dark Net—and why?


O Pioneer

Laura Dassow Walls

An inveterate explorer with an insatiable curiosity about the natural world, Alexander von Humboldt observed flora, fauna, climatic variation, and geology in close detail from continent to continent and described his findings in some of the bestselling volumes of his age.


Pavlov's Perestroika

Harold Green

A brief review of Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science, by Daniel P. Todes


Darkness Invisible

Corey S. Powell

A brief review of Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe, by Lisa Randall


Queen Jolly

Asia Murphy

A review essay on Thank You, Madagascar: The Conservation Diaries of Alison Jolly, by Alison Jolly


Names, Simplified

Henry Reich

A brief review of Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words, by Randall Munroe


Parsley, Sage, Thermocouple, and Thyme

Eric Schulze

A brief review of The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science, by J. Kenji López-Alt


An Ethical Evolution

Jacob Darwin Hamblin

A brief review of Scientists at War: The Ethics of Cold War Weapons Research, by Sarah Bridger


Enter the Dragons

Fenella Saunders

A brief review of Dragonflies: Magnificent Creatures of Water, Air, and Land, by Pieter van Dokkum


One Singular Sensation

Katie L. Burke

A brief review of Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart, and Mind, by David J. Linden


Fearless Symmetry

Daniel S. Silver

A brief review of Creating Symmetry: The Artful Mathematics of Wallpaper Patterns, by Frank A. Farris


When the Atomic Went Mainstream

Lindsey A. Freeman

A brief excerpt of Longing for the Bomb: Oak Ridge and Atomic Nostalgia, by Lindsey A. Freeman


In the Spirits of Science

Emily Buehler

A brief review of Liquid Intelligence: The Art and Science of the Perfect Cocktail, by Dave Arnold


Owls in the Family

Dianne Timblin

A brief review of The House of Owls, by Tony Angell


Mistrust, Metaphor, and Medicine

Katie L. Burke

A brief review of On Immunity: An Inoculation, by Eula Biss


On the Shore of the Infinite

Corey S. Powell

Brief reviews of Cosmigraphics: Picturing Space Through Time, by Michael Benson, and Infinite Worlds: The People and Places of Space Exploration, by Michael Soluri


Birth of the Coolth

Dianne Timblin

A brief review of Cool: How Air Conditioning Changed Everything, by Salvatore Basile


If These Cubicles Could Talk

Dianne Timblin

A brief review of Fearless Genius: The Digital Revolution in Silicon Valley, 1985–2000, by Doug Menuez


Snow Science

Sandra J. Ackerman

A brief review of Secrets of the Greatest Snow on Earth: Weather, Climate Change, and Finding Deep Powder in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains and Around the World, by Jim Steenburgh


The Evolution of Friendship

Harold Green

A brief review of Talent for Friendship: Rediscovery of a Remarkable Trait, by John Edward Terrell


Thoroughly Modern Microbes

Margaret Clark

A brief review of Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues, by Martin J. Blaser


The Bonds that Make Everything

Fenella Saunders

2015-01NightstandSaundersF2.jpgA brief review of Molecules: The Elements and Architecture of Everything, by Theodore Gray, with photographs by Nick Mann


The World's Survivors

Katie L. Burke

A brief review of The Oldest Living Things in the World, by Rachel Sussman


Taste Masters

Sandra J. Ackerman

2015-01NightstandAckermanF1.jpgA brief review of Umami: Unlocking the Secrets of the Fifth Taste, by Ole G. Mouritsen and Klavs Styrbaek


Journeys to the Brink

Ram Ramabhadran

A brief review of Shocked: Adventures in Bringing Back the Recently Dead, by David Casarett





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